Who was William Shakespeare?

Today is Shakespeare Day. William Shakespeare was an English playwright and poet, born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564.

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare
From Wikipedia

Some say this man did not have the education and experiences to produce the writing attributed to him. Various names amongst the aristocracy of the day and other writers are suggested as the ‘real’ Shakespeare.

Others suggest that Shakespeare was really a woman.

I decided to see if I could sniff out the truth – bipeds so often miss what’s right under their noses! I pondered about where to begin and I thought that a very good place to start would be with his own writing.

First Folio, William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Every Star Trek fan knows that you can’t appreciate Shakespeare until you’ve read him in the original Klingon, but, as I don’t know much Klingon and there’s a lot to read, I decided to begin in English with the most interesting bits – the bits about dogs.

The first quotation to spring to mind was “Cry ‘havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war”, but I was more interested in finding dogs in normal situations so I left Julius Caesar for another day.

I picked up a copy of Macbeth as it’s such a famous play. There’s a lot of murder and mayhem amongst the bipeds. The witches are up to no good at all, they use “tongue of dog” in one of their spells! Lady Macbeth makes a speech which puzzled me. She’s apparently speaking to a stain, or spot, on her hand. I’ve seen bipeds do some very strange things, but that’s strange even for a biped!

I did a little digging and I found that some capitalisation has been lost. It made perfect sense when I realised that Spot is a name. “Out, damned Spot! Out, I say!” It is clear to me that Spot is the family dog and the speech is a clever way of showing that Lady Macbeth is the villain of the play because only a wicked villain could speak to a dog in such a heartless way!

Then I turned my attention to The Two Gentlemen of Verona and, more specifically, the character of the dog called Crab. There’s a lot of peripheral stuff about bipeds falling in love and the complications that ensue, but the most important scene of the play revolves around Crab.

Crab is at the Duke’s Court in Milan with his biped, Launce, when he makes a puddle under the table. The Duke gives orders for Crab to be beaten, without even enquiring when Crab had last been taken outside. Launce takes the blame for the puddle and gets a beating. Obviously, the Duke must be very wicked indeed and Launce goes up in our estimation. I was surprised that the part of Crab is usually played by a biped in a dog costume.

Since bipeds have stolen one part belonging to a dog I thought I should take a closer look at some of the other characters. I turned to The Merchant of Venice and, my hunch was right, I found Shylock saying, “But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs:” (Act III Scene iii).

I sniffed around and I also discovered that some of the plays have had their names changed. Here is a list.

 

Current name Original name
The Merchant of Venice The Mastiff of Venice
Macbeth – The Scottish Play MacBones – The Scotties’ Play
The Merry Wives of Windsor The Merry Weimeraners of Windsor
As You Like It As You Lick It
The Two Gentlemen of Verona The Two Gentle Dogs of Verona
A Comedy of Errors A Comedy of Bones
Much Ado About Nothing Much Ado About Bones
Winter’s Tale Winter’s Tail
King Lear King Leonberger
Pericles (Great) Pyrenees
Antony and Cleopatra Antony and Clowiepatra
Julius Caesar Joe Likes Cesar¹
Romeo and Juliet The Bonio² that Julie Ate



Notes:

¹ Cesar is a well-known dog food for small dogs

² Bonio is a bone-shaped dog biscuit (cookie) sold in Britain

These are the first known examples of product placement.


My conclusion

Some of you have probably guessed by now what I found out – Shakespeare was a dog! He was more accurately known as Will.i.dog Shake.a.stick, but all his friends at the park called him the Bark. He was born in Stratford-a-bone-haven. If the Internet had been invented sooner, he would have been the very first dog with a blog.

The painting, at the beginning of this post, generally thought to be Shakespeare cannot be verified – no surprise there! He is rumoured to be one of the group of friends in this picture.

Group of five dogs

By Unknown maker, British (photographer, Details of artist on Google Art Project) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Disclaimer: If you have stumbled across my detective work while doing research for an essay for school or college, I would advise you to stick with the accepted views offered in Wikipedia – the academic world isn’t ready for this truth yet!

See you next Wednesday!

115 Comments

  1. I would say that you have definitely sniffed out the truth unlike other bipeds who have barking up the wrong tree or chasing their tails. I always knew you were a dog of many talents and once told you you were an accidental poet. Well Clowie, I am here to say that you are a deliberate scholar. Well done! and I am making no bones about your scholarship.

  2. I love the original names!!! Great post – William Shakespeare would be proud…

  3. Wow, it all makes sense to us now. Shakespeare was a dog!
    The Pigs xx

  4. That was hilarious, but my absolute favorite is “As You Lick It”! Thanks for a great post Clowie!

  5. baha your disclaimer cracked me up! 🙂

  6. Antony and Clowiepatra *cries with laughter* Those were brilliant. Thanks for making the hooman laugh this morning

    Have a great Wednesday

    Nacho, Noah, Buddy & Basil
    xxxx

  7. Oh dearest Clowie…your mind is as sharp as a butcher knife!! To think all these years all these masterful works & to think it all boiled down to “See Spot Run!” You my friend should be awarded the distinguished canine literary prize! Now, I do have to confess something to you my friend. And please forgive my biped vulgarity in not being able to say it with Shakespearian style & accuracy, but I’ll give it a go.
    When I first seen your post, on Shakespeare, I said to myself. What a perfect topic on Clowie’s Corner to do a post on a famous dog who starred in a movie and was completely adorable & a method actor! The movie? “Bringing Down the House” Staring the Awesome Queen Latifah & the brilliant Steve Martin! Also staring, Joan Plowright as Virginia Arness. And as Mrs. Arness’ dog…..the one & only….SHAKESPEARE played by Linus the Dog! In the movie, the dog even wore a Ruff around his neck! Now, I do have to say as a writer, I much prefer your post but perhaps next time you can get some Shakespeare for real up in this house! lmao 😉 Either way…great post my 4-legged friend! <3 <3

    • I’m glad you enjoyed reading! I think dogs are better at sniffing out the bare bones of a situation than bipeds are!
      I like Steve Martin, but I haven’t seen that film. I’m going to ask my bipeds to get it for me to watch.
      Enjoy the rest of your day!

  8. BOL BOL The Bonio² that Julie Ate. Love the disclaimer too. Great post today Clowie. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  9. Excellent reading. The TRUTH at last. Well done Clowie on your detective work

  10. Clowie, if your going to product place dog food and biscuits I am slightly disappointed you didn’t get Harringtons in there – maybe that could be tour challenge for next year??

    A brilliant post, and I love that Shakespeare wrote a play about you!!

  11. I’m looking at Shakespeare in a completely different way now. Thank you for the insights, Clowie!

    (… and, I think I’ve seen an actual portrait of Shakespeare at our favorite Tapas restaurant in Bergen.) 🙂

  12. What an interesting conclusion about Shakespeare being a dog! 😮
    Ophelia is over the moon with the “King Leonberger” play by the way – she’s teasing Killian that her dog breed features in a Shakespeare play and Great Danes don’t. 🙂

  13. Good research, C. That Shakespeare guy (dog) was tricky. And poor old Spot. That is no way to be treated! I will look at this literature in a new way…..

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake

  14. That sure was so interesting and you sure did some great research. There could very well be a dog named Shakespeare. After all dogs are just as smart as any human. Great post. We enjoyed that. Take care.

  15. Oh Clowie you’re ever so smart – what wonderful research you DUG UP and I do think that I prefurrrr your version of Mr. Shakespeare’s work and his OBVIOUS obsession with dogs to any other version I’ve heard. Yep – you are one excellent detective!

    Hugs, Sammy

  16. Brilliant detective work, Clowie. Ole Willie-Wag-A-Lot-Shakespear, the nickname us old dogs remember from our ancestors barks has at last been found out. I knew you were one bright doggy friend but this exalts you to the stars, the star treks to be ‘xact. wag wag

  17. Okay, Clowie–you’ve got too much time on your hands! Get out there and guard something! Loved it. M & R

  18. “The academic community is not ready for the truth” – totally agree!

  19. I always knew it but now I have definitive proof that you are a genius! What great conundrum are you going to solve for us next oh wise one?

  20. BOL!!! Oh Clowie you crazy pup! It all makes pawfect sense!!!! Finally the truth is exposed! And what better pup to expose it then you!!!! BOL I sure hope nobody researching him came up with your site hahaha!!!!! Some mild confusion there I would assume!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  21. Hawk aka BrownDog

    Hi Y’all!
    I figured I’d learn a new thing or two when I visited you! and so I did! To think that the humans are so, so…pompous…as to believe that Shakespeare was a human too!
    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  22. Clowie you are a genius! You found out what 87 scientists and 187 explorers never found: Shakespeare was a dog! yep that makes sense to me. Probably Crab was played by a biped in a dog costume because no one would watch a stage play where they beat a dog. I agree, that’s not really good stuff for a play. Do you know where I can buy tickets for The Merry Weimeraners of Windsor? btw: Julie probably had not only one Bonio, it was a whole bag or more what led to such an unhappy end for her :o) Have a great wednesday… to pee or not to pee that’s the question :o)

    • Well, you know how difficult it is for bipeds to see the obvious! It just needed some digging and sniffing to root out the truth.
      I’ll let you know if I hear of The Merry Weimeraners of Windsor being performed as it should be.
      I think you’re right about Julie eating all the Bonios!

  23. Clowie, what a wonderful way to celebrate the birth of Will.i.dog Shake.a.stick. You must be thoroughly exhausted after all that research and detective work. We fear that bipeds aren’t ready for the truth yet but you’ve put it out there and maybe in another 450 years it will be the accepted truth.

    • That’s a very long time to wait for the truth to be acknowledged! But bipeds can be very resistant to change.
      I was a bit tired after all that detective work and when I took a nap the cats had the nerve to call me a sleepyhead!

  24. “Behind every great human is a great dog.” Daisy says you may quote her on that.

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